Tomberlin low-speed electric vehicles may be “known as golf carts” as the Oklahoma state Tax Commission contended during a two-year legal battle, but according to the state’s Supreme Court, their buyers are entitled to tax credits.
About 753 Oklahoma state tax credits are pending on the Tomberlin-branded low-speed electric vehicles that may alternately be called Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, and will now be paid out.
True enough some of the company’s model range may look especially like glorified golf carts, but they are street legal, and the Supreme Court said buyers are not to be discriminated against.
By definition, a Low Speed Electric Vehicle (LSV) is a four-wheeled motor vehicle whose speed attainable in one mile (1.6 km) is more than 20 mph (32 kph) and not more than 25 mph on a paved surface, and whose GVWR is less than 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg).
To date, the commission has reportedly paid credits to around 900 taxpayers who bought other brands of LSVs.
As the Tomberlin video above portrays, the appeal of LSVs can be significant. Note the marketing talks about safety with a testimonial and mention of the word “safe” and feeling safe. In this case, that is a qualified term, and safety value for LSVs is worth further investigation by prospective consumers.
The upside to these types of vehicles is they are comparatively less expensive to own and operate. The downside, says the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) is they are not subject to mandatory crash tests. Being so light and small, they do not stand up against regular motor vehicles in collisions.
In testing them on its own, the IIHS found a high likelihood of greater injuries to driver and occupants when compared to similar impacts suffered in conventional motor vehicles.
Nonetheless, LSVs are eligible for tax credits in some cases further improving their value proposition, and are being chosen as expedient short-range transportation.
In contradistinction once more, actual automotive electric vehicles that are engineered for full-on roadway use – such as the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt – have proven even more crash-worthy than conventional same-class vehicles. Essentially, the extra weight of batteries and related hardware can give more kinetic energy to electrified vehicles that are otherwise engineered with the usual crumple zones, and impact absorbing technology of conventional motor vehicles.